Who We Are Meant To Be
As we go through suffering, God wants to help us transform into the image of Christ, He will strengthen us where we are weak.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again my dear radio friend. How in the world are you? You doin’ all right today? Well I trust so, bless your heart. I am fine, happy to be alive and serving my blessed Lord with you; walking about in the garden of God’s Word, and seeing what He has for us. What I try to do is to put a handle on the Word of God so that you can get hold of it yourself.
We have been in 1 Peter, we’re in chapter 5, and we’re looking at verse 10. Peter says, “Now the God of all grace who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus. After ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you. To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Now we were in the middle of that verse the last time we got together. And we had talked a little bit about the words ‘make you perfect’. That’s the Greek verb that means ‘to mend’, ‘equip’, or ‘put in order’, or ‘rearrange’. It also is used in other passages with the idea of being strengthened, or perfected, or completed, or, or make something what it ought to be. Make what it ought to be — that appeals to me.
You see, you and I start out with just the capacity to fail. Your very best offered to God is going to come short. “For all have sinned,” says Paul in Romans 3, “all have sinned and come short after the glory of God.” I oftentimes use the illustration of running for a train, trying to catch a train in Tokyo. Back in 1953, I was burdened down with any number of articles. I had a, I had a dictation device; tape recorders had not come into their own as yet. And I had a, a dictation device that inscribed the messages on a plastic disc. And then you mailed that disc back to the office, and it was transcribed. But it was a heavy business. And I had my suitcase, and then I had a briefcase, and so on.
Running to catch the train, and I missed it. Well there was a man ahead of me who was much less burdened down. He was thinner than I to begin with. And he didn’t have any baggage. And he also was running to catch the train. And he just missed it by a about three or four seconds, the train had begun to move. And I came along quite a bit later. And I often say, “Well, which one of us missed the train the most?” People generally chuckle, and if they say anything, they’ll say, “Oh well brother Cook you both missed it.” Which is precisely the point, isn’t it?
Our best offered to God, it may be better by comparison than somebody else’s best. But in both cases, we’ve missed — come short of — the glory of God. And so, by the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, with the shedding of His precious blood; the once in for all atonement that He made when He paid the penalty for our sins; and He tasted death for every man. He came in order that He might destroy him that had the power of death — that is, the devil — and deliver them who all their lifetime where subject of fear, through fear of death. Oh Jesus our blessed Lord has done it all, hasn’t He?
And so His job now is to make us what we ought to be. “Conformed to the image of His son,” says Paul. And we are to be not conformed to this world, “jammed into the world’s mold,” — Romans 12:2 — but transformed like the erstwhile caterpillar having spun itself a cocoon, comes out a beautiful butterfly. Goes in with twenty-two feet, comes out with six legs. Goes in with fuzz, comes out with scales. Goes in, in walking, crawling, comes out flying. Goes in eating leaves, comes out eating nectar. Different altogether; metamorphosis we call it. That’s what God wants to do with you, and with me — to transform us and to make us what we ought to be.
Would you trust Him today with the problem areas in your life? You know, all of our best efforts don’t really solve the problem, because we get tired. And when you get tired you give up. And when you give up, you revert to your old self. In prison matters they call it recidivism, which is a long word, means they come back again. But you and I will understand each other when I say, you get tired of trying and you give up. And when you give up, you just simply sag back into the old forms and attitudes of life. Only God can transform a person and make him or her different. And He does, when through faith you commit your life to Him. That’s that word, ‘make you perfect’. It means, ‘make you what you ought to be’, in God’s perfect plan.
And then — well this is all review but it’s, it’s so juicy that I just didn’t want to let go of it. The, the word ‘establish’, actually means ‘to place firmly’, ‘make stable’, ‘to strengthen and make firm’, ‘establish’. A friend of mine showed me a place in his house where there was a big steel pillar inserted at the corner of the foundation. Now what had happened? Well, the house had sagged. And that one corner, which happened to be in the kitchen, that one corner was, was tilting down because the, the foundation, the whole business was sagging. So what did they do? They put a great big steel pillar down there, and they used what’s called it a jackscrew, I think is what they call it. You operate it with the handle and turn it round and round. And it unthreads itself, pushing with tremendous force against whatever object it is connected with — in this case the floor of the kitchen above.
‘To place firmly’, ‘make stable’, and ‘make firm’ — this is what God wants you to do. Forgive the homely illustration. You are helped to prop up the old sagging world around you. Civilization doesn’t last very long, apart from Judeo-Christian values, you know that. There is a barbarian in every human heart. That unless it’s bought under the control of the blessing indwelling Holy Spirit who comes in when you make Jesus your Lord and savior by faith. Civilization and the culture of which we are so proud, doesn’t last very long in the absence of Judeo-Christian values.
Now if you disagree with me, as my father use to say, “We’ll be in heaven some day, and you’ll know better.” (Laughs) He used to say, “All of you, you disagree with me boys ‘cause you’re ignorant.” (Laughs) I never in my life won an argument with that dear man. (Laughs) Well, don’t argue with me either because this I think has the ring of truth to it. Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” “Whoso comitteth sin, is the servant of sin,” says Paul, “but thanks be unto God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” And so God makes you stable, firm, strengthened and settled.
Now you come to this word ‘strengthen’ — ‘make you perfect’, ‘establish’ — strengthen you. What does this mean? Well it’s a verb that means exactly what it says. ‘To make strong’, or ‘to strengthen’. Paul the apostle said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.” Same expression. Paul said, “I labor mightily.” He said, “whereunto I also labor, striving according to His Spirit who, who strives within me, mightily.” The indwelling Holy Spirit of God makes the difference.
Paul said to his friends, “I wouldn’t have you ignorant of the trouble that came to us in Asia.” He said, “We were so depressed that I thought that we were, we were tried above measure,” — that means I’m getting more then my share; ‘beyond strength’, that means, ‘I can’t take any more — “insomuch that we despaired even of life.” ‘If anything more happens, it’ll kill me.’ Have you ever said that to yourself? If you’ve lived a while, I’m sure you have at some time or other. But he said, “We had, we had the answer; that we should not trust in ourselves but with God, who raises the dead.”
The God of the resurrection makes the difference in the pressures of life. “Strengthen with all might, according to His glorious power”. “Strengthen with all might, according to His glorious power.” Paul says that, I think, in Ephesians, doesn’t he? What a marvelous horizon that is for the child of God! Yes! Well, what do you do about it, what do you do about it? I come back to Colossians 2:6, which is a key verse in my thinking, oftentimes popping up you may say, because it is so apt and so fitting in matters that have to do with this question, “What do I do next?”
Paul said in Colossians 2:6, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus as Lord, so walk in Him,” – means ‘live every day’ “As you receive Christ Jesus as Lord, so live every day, in Him.” Jesus our Lord said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. If ye abide in Me and My words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you.” He said, “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you can pray,” and he, said “nothing shall be impossible unto you.” What does this say? The commitment of faith opens the door in almightiness. That’s exactly what it is.
Go over to the second chapter of Mark and see the picture of a great crowd standing around a house which was already filled with people. There was no human way to get anybody more into that house. Here now come four men, each one carrying a corner of a homemade litter in which was lying a paralyzed man, their friend and buddy whom they wanted to get into the presence of Jesus. No way to get into the house. They could not get in to see Him it said, because of the crowd.
So what did they do? They went up the outside the stairway to the roof, which was often used as a kind of a patio or a porch. And they began digging at the tiles that covered the roof. Many times in those cases the roof would be covered with some, some garden humus or soil, and might even have some, some flowers growing on it. And then underneath it were the, the tiles that kept the roof from leaking. And they began to uncover these one after another, above the place where the Lord Jesus was in the house, teaching. You can be sure that as they began digging, certain clods of dust and dirt began falling down on the people below. And immediately there was a place cleared as folks stepped aside to avoid the falling pieces of the roof. Finally the hole was large enough for them to lower this man down through it, into the presence of the Lord Jesus.
And Mark as he tells the story, says “When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the sick of the palsy, ‘Son, thy sins are forgiven.’” Jesus saw their faith. Faith for myself, and faith for other people. The commitment of faith opens the door of God’s power — do you believe that beloved? Apply that commitment of faith, turning it over to your blessed Lord in absolute surrender. Apply that to the problem areas in your life. And find how he can strengthen you. He’ll make you strong where you were weak; He’ll make you victorious where you were a victim; He’ll make you sure where you were wandering and floundering. The commitment of faith opens the door to God’s almightiness in your life. We’ll come back to this verse the next time we get together.
Father, God today, Oh may we be strengthened with might by thy Spirit, in the inner man. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, I pray this. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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